Daredevil Producer's Lengthy Tirade About Jenna Ortega's Wednesday Comments Sparked Both Arguments And Understanding
Steven S. DeKnight wasn't a fan of Ortega's thoughts.
Netflix's Wednesday was undoubtedly one of the biggest TV shows of the past year, turning Jenna Ortega into as much of a household name as the Addams Family character she portrayed. (Probably inspired more dance parties than the O.G. version, though.) One drawback to such heights of fame involves a celebrity's words and thoughts getting endlessly picked apart, such as it went when Ortega spoke out about being "unprofessional" on the set and altering the scripts' dialogue on the fly. Those comments, which were critical of the work from creators/showrunners Alfred Gough and Miles Millar (as well as the writing staff), sparked a sporadic weeklong Twitter tirade from Spartacus creator and former Daredevil EP Steven S. DeKnight, though it appears angry debates have given way to a wave of calm understanding.
What Jenna Ortega Said To Begin With
While popping by as a guest on Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard, Jenna Ortega talked about her attempts to keep Wednesday as authentic as possible to what she perceived the character to be. She talked openly about moments that she didn't think fit in with the goth Addams teen, with the love triangle being a go-to target, and went on to say that she reached a point where she began altering the dialogue against others' wishes. In her words:
Ortega followed up on that interview with a trip to The Tonight Show, where she claimed that she and the writers talked about bringing in more horror elements for Season 2 and eschewing some of the romance. And while there are no doubt fans out there who agree with her general thoughts, the way she went about expressing them is what caused minor backlash-ery on Twitter. (Not to mention all the other times Ortega complained, somewhat good-naturedly, about working on the Netflix hit.)
How Stephen S. DeKnight Slammed Ortega's Comments
Not long after the interview went live, Steven DeKnight took to Twitter with his first critical view of how Ortega went about sharing her thoughts.
To be expected, that tweet thread led to a rolling deluge of comments that ran the entire gamut of human opinion. Some agreed whole-heartedly that Ortega came across as self-righteous and disagreeable, regardless of whether her thoughts had merit or not. Others weren't so concerned with professionalism so much as Wednesday being good, and praised whatever changes Ortega made that helped. And many others just took potshots at DeKnight's entertainment career without addressing any actual points, because Twitter.
It'd have been one thing if that was the extent of Steven S. DeKnight's commentary on the situation, but it was just the beginning. The writer/producer/director is known for being as vocal as one can be on social media, and he certainly didn't disappoint over the next week or so when engaging with others who both agreed and disagreed with his stance. Not that many took the time to understand what his actual stance was, and were content to just rattle off about their own thoughts.
But across the lengthy stretch in which this topic has bounced around DeKnight's Twitter feed, he's repeatedly stressed what his actual issue is, while also being very appreciative and complimentary regarding Jenna Ortega in any other capacity beyond "publicly criticizing the show's writers." Here's a handful of his comments on that front:
- It’s bad form to shit on your colleagues in public. Period. Again, I’d feel the same way if the showrunners did the same thing to her.
- I think she's fantastic on screen. And I sincerely hope realizes why what she said has upset so many writers. We're in the trenches together. We need to publicly support each other.
- [in response to racially motivated accusations] Respectfully, you’re way off here. I’m responding to an actor who made the very poor choice to publicly throw her showrunner/writers under a bus because she disagreed with their writing. Race and gender have zero to do with it. And I’ve been very clear that I love her work. But what she did was extremely bad form in this industry for anyone. Period.
- Any of her criticisms may have been valid and she absolutely should have brought them up with the showrunners. That’s how the process works. But what you don’t do is badmouth your writers in an interview. Just like writers/showrunners should never publicly badmouth their actors. It works both ways.
To be sure, many people commenting on his thoughts were in complete agreement, and there were also those who debated him with the full understanding of where he was coming from, as opposed to baseless bashing.
Is It Over Now? Maybe
It seems like Steven S. DeKnight finally wrapped things up regarding Wednesday and Jenna Ortega this week, with a few compassionate exchanges with some who actually did come around to grasping his point after first thinking he was attacking Ortega for no reason.
we all get it now, and again, with everything that’s going around and we didn’t know if anyone knew, thank you for taking the time to clear some of the things up, we’re all stressed bc of what’s happening and we never got a single answer about itMarch 15, 2023
And perhaps finally, DeKnight also shared a plea for everyone to take a second to think about being nice, instead of instinctively oozing vitriol at every disagreement.
Probably slightly less love to the many people who got blocked and muted during that week-long stretch, but still.
Wednesday is available to stream for anyone with a Netflix subscription, while DeKnight's classic action/adventure Spartacus (and many other awesome shows) can be streamed with a Starz subscription. And stay tuned for more about the new Spartacus project that he's putting together.
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Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.